Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[hwawrvz, wawrvz] /ʰwɔrvz, wɔrvz/
a plural of wharf.


[hwawrf, wawrf] /ʰwɔrf, wɔrf/
noun, plural wharves
[hwawrvz, wawrvz] /ʰwɔrvz, wɔrvz/ (Show IPA),
a structure built on the shore of or projecting into a harbor, stream, etc., so that vessels may be moored alongside to load or unload or to lie at rest; quay; pier.
  1. a riverbank.
  2. the shore of the sea.
verb (used with object)
to provide with a wharf or wharves.
to place or store on a wharf:
The schedule allowed little time to wharf the cargo.
to accommodate at or bring to a wharf:
The new structure will wharf several vessels.
verb (used without object)
to tie up at a wharf; dock:
The ship wharfed in the early morning.
Origin of wharf
before 1050; Middle English (noun); Old English hwearf embankment; cognate with Middle Low German warf; akin to German Werf pier
Can be confused
dock, harbor, pier, wharf.


[hwawrv, wawrv] /ʰwɔrv, wɔrv/
Spinning. a wheel or round piece of wood on a spindle, serving as a flywheel or as a pulley.
before 1000; Middle English wherve, Old English hweorfa; derivative of hwerfan to revolve Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for wharves
Historical Examples
  • And drawing lazily on his cigar Dillon was watching a new line of wharves.

    The Harbor Ernest Poole
  • The cabman druv 'im to somewhere on South Street, by the wharves.

    The Mystery of Murray Davenport Robert Neilson Stephens
  • Most of this is now a thing of the past and the dredges lie rotting at the wharves.

    The Negro Farmer Carl Kelsey
  • He had been down to the wharves since early in the morning, seeking for employment.

    The Cash Boy Horatio Alger Jr.
  • Think of the great wide flowing river with its wharves and its boats.

    Where We Live Emilie Van Beil Jacobs
  • Some were pursued and cut down, others escaped by swimming to the wharves.

    The Pirate of Panama William MacLeod Raine
  • He was in the habit of sitting on the wharves and watching the ships.

    Discoverers and Explorers Edward R. Shaw
  • At the wharves at Launceston the tide rises from twelve to fourteen feet.

  • That afternoon Wade and I went down to the wharves to make inquiries.

    Left on Labrador

    Charles Asbury Stephens
  • The musketry fire on the wharves showed that there were troops stationed there.

    No Surrender! G. A. Henty
British Dictionary definitions for wharves


noun (pl) wharves (wɔːvz), wharfs
a platform of timber, stone, concrete, etc, built parallel to the waterfront at a harbour or navigable river for the docking, loading, and unloading of ships
(NZ) the wharves, the working area of a dock
an obsolete word for shore1
verb (transitive)
to moor or dock at a wharf
to provide or equip with a wharf or wharves
to store or unload on a wharf
Word Origin
Old English hwearf heap; related to Old Saxon hwarf, Old High German hwarb a turn, Old Norse hvarf circle


a wooden disc or wheel on a shaft serving as a flywheel or pulley
Word Origin
Old English hweorfa, from hweorfan to revolve; related to Old Saxon hwervo axis, Old High German hwerbo a turn
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for wharves



late Old English hwearf "shore, bank where ships can tie up," earlier "dam, embankment," from Proto-Germanic *khwarfaz (cf. Middle Low German werf "mole, dam, wharf," German Werft "shipyard, dockyard"); related to Old English hwearfian "to turn," perhaps in a sense implying "busy activity," from PIE root *kwerp- "to turn, revolve" (cf. Old Norse hverfa "to turn round," German werben "to enlist, solicit, court, woo," Gothic hvairban "to wander," Greek kartos "wrist," Sanskrit surpam "winnowing fan"). Wharf rat "person who hangs around docks" is recorded from 1836.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for wharves

Word Value for wharves

Scrabble Words With Friends